Sunday, May 17, 2009

Governor's Report: Michigan is Still in Motion

The automotive industry may have hit a stop sign, but Gov. Jennifer Granholm's aggressive strategy is maintaining forward momentum in the crown of the Great Lakes. From motion pictures to nanotechnology, the Wolverine State is in the hunt for new jobs.

By Jack Rogers

Nowhere has this year's economic debacle hit harder in the United States than in Michigan. The state that is synonymous with a U.S. auto industry on the brink of bankruptcy currently is suffering with the nation's highest double-digit unemployment rates.

To add insult to injury, the crown jewel of Michigan's economic development efforts—a $17-billion project between Midland, MI-based Dow Chemical and the government of Kuwait—was canceled abruptly by the Kuwaitis earlier this year when they felt the bite of the sudden plunge in the price of oil.

So it is understandable if you wouldn't expect to hear a lot of good news coming from the crown of the Great Lakes these days. But you would be wrong.

Governor Jennifer Granholm and her economic development team have been extraordinarily busy since the beginning of the year. Hardly a week goes by without the announcement of a major new job-creation initiative from the governor's office. More than a dozen new projects expected to create nearly 9,000 new jobs and an investment of more than $300 million in the state have been unveiled since the beginning of the year, and Granholm says more are on the way.

Diversification has been the watchword of Michigan's counterattack against the pervasive economic gloom.

"We are undertaking the most aggressive economic diversification strategy in the nation, and helping Michigan manufacturers expand into new, high-growth sectors is a critical component of that effort," Granholm says. More here.

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